ESB pumps €2.5m into street light firm
A former Mayo 'Man of the Year' has sold a stake in his business to the ESB after patenting a gadget which can turn street lights into mini advertising poles.
Sean Noone (59), who was named Mayo's Man of the Year back in 2003, and other shareholders in Belmullet-based Superior Electronic Lighting Controllers (SELC) said yesterday they had sold the stake to an ESB investment fund for €2.5m.
The firm, which was set up in 1982 by Mr Noone, makes devices to control street and airport lighting and can cut the running cost of lighting systems by as much as 70pc.
The technology has been used in south Dublin, Arizona, Milton Keynes in the UK and Oslo.
SELC's devices allow street lights to be dimmed when there is no traffic or pedestrians and can be controlled and monitored through Google Maps.
In Oslo, the devices raise the street lights' brightness during rain and dim them when there is a full moon or during snow when light is reflected back into the sky
SELC is eyeing the enormous potential presented by new laws which ban old-fashioned street lighting. The company calculates that there are more than 93 million street lights in the EU and 63 million in the US.
The company has also patented a product, which it calls Street Pole Media, which could allow community information, advertising or video to be broadcast over small screens attached to street lights and has previously talked to Vodafone about providing content for the poles.
SELC hopes such devices could raise money for councils considering using their systems which can be relatively expensive to install.
SELC initially raised money from ICC Venture Capital and has also raised funds from Udaras na Gaeltachta and the Western Development Commission.
Other shareholders include Gerry McGuinesss, the newspaper publisher who founded the 'Sunday World'.
SELC swung to a loss of €2.4m and had debts of €509,000 in 2008, the last year for which figures are available. SELC had been due to try and raise €5m at an Enterprise Ireland International Investor Forum in London in November.